BL S-series engine

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The S series is a straight-4 SOHC internal combustion engine developed by the Austin Rover Group (subsidiary of British Leyland), and produced from 1984 until 1993. The engine was used in the Austin Montego, Mark 1 Rover 200-series and the MG Maestro; the engine was used in the Austin Maestro from 1985 onwards.

The engine comes from the same lineage as the BMC-developed E-series family introduced in the 1969 Austin Maxi, but with important modifications in order to facilitate compatibility with a conventional "end-on" transmission unit, in place of BMC/BL's traditional "gearbox-in-sump" configuration for its front wheel drive vehicles; the gearbox flange was redesigned to accept either a Volkswagen manual gearbox (for the Maestro/Montego), or the PG-1 transmission (for the Rover 200).

BL had also developed the earlier R-series engine from the E-series family, but largely as a stopgap at the Maestro's launch since the S series was not yet ready for production; because the E series had to be turned through 180 degrees in order to facilitate an end-on transmission, the resultant R-series unit had the inlet manifold on the front-facing side of the cylinder head, something which proved fatal for the engine's reliability—since it opened the door for carburettor icing. The S series solved this problem, as the inlet manifold was now on the rear face of the engine. Another important advance over the E/R series was the adoption of a camshaft driven by a toothed belt in place of the previous timing chain system.

Production of the S-series engine continued until the end of Montego / Maestro series production in 1993, the remaining cars which were built by Rover until 1994 used only the O-series diesel engine.

A 4-valve version of the S series was under development alongside the 1100 cc and 1400 cc K-series engines. However, the project was abandoned when a redesign of the K series allowed its capacity to be stretched to 1600 cc and 1800 cc; the engine was designated the name L16 but should not be confused with the L Series diesel engines or Datsun/Nissan L16 engine.